Lost Your Home? Go to Prison – Desperate for Shelters, New York Considers Turning Jail Cells Into Homes
“I lost everything, but I still have my pride,” said 44-year-old Wally Martinez. “We don’t have to stay in a prison. My brother was once in that very prison, and my mother used to visit him regularly. She used to tell me how miserable he looked and how filthy and disgusting that prison was.”
Desperate for shelters, New York considers turning jail cells into homes
With nowhere else to go, New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Sandy may have no choice but to sleep in jails. As hundreds of thousands remain without power, a Staten Island prison may serve as a temporary home for storm victims.
About 100,000 homes and businesses will remain without power for the next several months, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday in a news conference. About 434,140 homes are currently still without power in the region that was in Hurricane Sandy’s path – mostly in New York and New Jersey. The second storm, a nor’easter that hit the region last week, brought snow and frigid temperatures to a city already devastated by the effects of the first storm.
With the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) having only provided housing to two dozen of 5,200 applicants, thousands remain without a home as the winter months approach. As many as 40,000 New Yorkers are in need of shelter from extreme weather and rapidly decreasing temperatures, the city estimates.
The city is in desperate need for shelter – so desperate that even a desolate jail is being considered a possibility, the New York Post reports. The Arthur Kill Correction Facility on Staten Island may serve as a temporary home for up to 900 displaced victims of the storm. The medium-security prison was closed last December and with some fixing up, it could once again be fully functional.